The British pound has posted very slight gains on Friday. In the European session, GBP/USD is trading at 1.3720, up 0.09% on the day.
The pound is yawning despite better than expected UK data today. GDP jumped 0.9% m/m in November, above the consensus of 0.4%, while Manufacturing Production rose 1.1% m/m, crushing the estimate of 0.2%. Both readings were above the October releases, indicating that the UK recovery continues. GDP for Q4 is expected to reach or surpass the pre-Covid level (Q4 2019), barring a disappointing December GDP report.
We continue to see a rotation out of US dollars this week, with the British pound and other majors racking up impressive gains of around 1 percent. The driver behind the US dollar’s weakness has been elevated risk appetite, which has not waned despite exploding Omicron cases, a soft nonfarm payrolls report and a hawkish Federal Reserve. The markets appear to have an answer for all of these developments. The Omicron wave has not wreaked havoc on the global economy, US wage growth is strong, and Fed Chair Jerome Powell is confident that red-hot inflation in the US will ease during the year. Still, risk sentiment can change quickly, and I would not be surprised to see a US dollar comeback in the near term if Omicron is more damaging than anticipated or if inflation heads even higher.
Johnson fighting for political life
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under intense criticism after revelations that his staff held parties during the height of the Covid lockdowns. One party was apparently held the night before the funeral of Queen Elizabeth’s husband, and a poignant photo of the Queen sitting alone during the funeral has made Party-Gate look even worse. The latest political crisis has not made a dent in the pound’s upswing, perhaps because Johnson is no stranger to controversy or an indication that investors are more concerned about inflation and omicron rather than partying at 10 Downing Street.
GBP/USD Technical Analysis
- There are support lines at 1.3482 and 1.3372.
- GBP/USD continues to test resistance at 1.3708. This is followed by resistance at 1.3818